Governor Cooper issues State of Emergency in advance of severe weather
Published 6:31 pm Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Updated Thursday morning with new info
RALEIGH – In advance of Hurricane Ian’s remnants moving through the state, Governor Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency today (Wednesday) to activate the state’s emergency operations plan, waive transportation rules to help the transport of fuel and critical supplies, help first responders and the agriculture industry and protect consumers from price gouging.
“A State of Emergency is needed now so that farmers and those preparing for the storm can more quickly get ready for the heavy rain that is likely to fall in much of our state,” said Cooper. “North Carolinians should stay aware, keep a close eye on the forecast and prepare their emergency supplies.”
North Carolinians can expect heavy rainfall and possible flooding and tornadoes on Friday and Saturday from the remnants of Hurricane Ian. The State Emergency Response Team will activate on Thursday at the State Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh and plans to move to 24-hour operations on Friday morning.
Locally, the National Weather Service office in Wakefield, VA issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook on Wednesday.
“Tropical Storm Ian is forecasted to make a second landfall along the South Carolina coast Friday afternoon, before moving northwest and weakening over the Carolinas Saturday. Meanwhile, strong high pressure will remain anchored across New England into the weekend. The combination of the high to the north and the tropical low to the south will funnel moisture into the region with periods of heavy rain possible Friday into Friday night. There is a slight risk for excessive rainfall Friday into Friday night,” said NWS-Wakefield officials.
As of Thursday morning, the NWS-Wakefield forecast for the Roanoke-Chowan area calls for the rain to begin mainly around 5 a.m. on Friday. At that time, the wind is forecasted to be out of the northeast at 16 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts between one to two inches are possible.
The wind, with gusts up to 30 mph, remains steady through Friday night. Rainfall amounts between 2 and 3 inches are possible.
Rain is likely on Saturday with an east wind around 11 mph becoming south in the afternoon. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. The rain continues in lesser amounts for Sunday.
Cooper’s Executive Order waives the size and weight requirements for vehicles engaged in relief efforts before, during and after the severe weather, including power restoration and debris removal, as well as the transportation of goods like food, fuel, and medical supplies.
The order also helps North Carolina’s agricultural sector by temporarily suspending weighing of vehicles used to transport livestock, poultry or crops ready to be harvested.
In addition, North Carolina’s price gouging law against overcharging in a state of emergency is now in effect statewide.
“We don’t yet know what kind of damage Hurricane Ian will bring to North Carolina, but we do know that it will bring out scammers,” said State Attorney General Josh Stein. “Please report concerns about price gougers to my office so we can hold them accountable for exploiting people’s desperation.”
Individuals can report potential price gouging by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint at https://ncdoj.gov/pricegouging.
Cooper also authorized the activation of about 80 members of the North Carolina National Guard to assist as needed.
North Carolinians are advised to stay aware and keep a close eye on the forecast for the next several days. Much of North Carolina is forecast to see 2-5 inches late this week and weekend, but 5-7 inches or more will be possible near the coast and along the Blue Ridge Escarpment. These rainfall totals could lead to localized flash flooding, landslides in the mountains, and rises on main-stem rivers. Rainfall totals and the timing of the heaviest rain could be adjusted based on the eventual track of Ian.
Gusty winds, isolated tornadoes, minor coastal flooding and hazardous marine conditions will also be possible late this week and weekend as Ian moves through the region. Isolated downed trees and power outages will be possible due to gusty winds and saturated soils.
“As we have learned over the years of dealing with hurricanes and tropical storms bearing heavy rain, preparing for storms ahead of time can help limit damage,” stated State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The waiving of some motor vehicle regulations related to agriculture help farmers get ready. At my recommendation and as allowed by state law, the Governor has directed the Department of Public Safety to temporarily suspend weighing vehicles used to transport livestock, poultry, feed and crops in the state.
“This Executive Order will allow our farmers the opportunity to harvest as much of their crops as they can before the storm hits,” Troxler added. “The order also will help ensure that livestock, poultry, crops and feed can be moved as necessary. The order also temporarily suspends the maximum hours of service for drivers.”
Troxler said in addition to the waiving of motor vehicle regulations, the department is temporarily suspending health certificate requirements on livestock traveling through the state from areas in Hurricane Ian’s path.
The Governor and state officials advise these tips to make sure people are personally prepared:
Have multiple ways to receive emergency information, including watches and warnings. Make sure emergency alerts are enabled on a cell phone and download a weather app.
Have an emergency plan. Know where to go if there’s a need to evacuate. Make a plan to stay with family, friends or at a hotel. Public shelters should be a last resort.
Gather some emergency supplies or refresh an emergency kit. Visit ReadyNC.gov for info on how to build an emergency kit.
If people live at the coast, be aware if you live in a coastal evacuation zone. Visit KnowYourZone.nc.gov to see if you are located in a pre-determined evacuation zone. Learn your zone and listen for it if evacuations are ordered by local governments.
Visit ReadyNC.gov for additional information on weather preparation, as well as information on power outages. Visit DriveNC.gov for current travel conditions from NCDOT.